Couple pledges $25 million to UNICEF for COVID-19 vaccination efforts

Couple pledges $25 million to UNICEF for COVID-19 vaccination efforts

Slack co-founder and CEO Stewart Butterfield and Away co-founder and CEO Jen Rubio have announced a $25 million commitment to UNICEF USA in support of the equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines globally.

UNICEF is working with the Global COVAX Facility, an initiative led by GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance, the World Health Organization, and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), to distribute two billion doses of the vaccine by the end of the year, while UNICEF USA is raising funds in support of its parent organization's six-step campaign to end the pandemic.

"This is a global problem that requires a global solution," said Butterfield on Good Morning America. "UNICEF is one of the few organizations in the world that [have] that kind of reach....They vaccinate 45 percent of the world's children; they have the distribution network. And as part of COVAX...UNICEF's job is to turn vaccines into vaccinations and get shots in arms, and they're the best in the world for that."

Butterfield and Rubio called on tech leaders and the public to join the effort. "We're not through this and, for most of the world, it is likely to get worse," Butterfield wrote on Twitter. "We may be on the verge of a more catastrophic humanitarian crisis than anything so far....[W]e're all connected: if we in rich countries allow it to take years to vaccinate the rest of the world, it's not going to end for us either....Anything we can do to ensure a fast & equitable distribution of vaccines and accelerate turning them into vaccinations should be a worldwide priority."